Jamaica and China Sign Agreement to Build Children’s Hospital in Mobay

Photo: Donald Delahaye Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith (centre) exchanges signed documents with China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Niu Qingbao (right), for the construction of the Western Hospital for Children in St. James. The signing of the letters of exchange was held on January 9 at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in New Kingston. Looking on is Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.

Story Highlights

  • Plans are advanced for the construction of a 220-bed hospital for children in western Jamaica.
  • Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the facility will bring additional beds to the nation’s health system.
  • Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said the project marks a significant milestone in the relationship between Jamaica and China as they celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations this year.

Plans are advanced for the construction of a 220-bed hospital for children in western Jamaica.

The Governments of Jamaica and China yesterday (January 9) signed an agreement for the building of the Western Children’s Hospital in Montego Bay, St. James.

The facility will be the first to be constructed in the island since the May Pen Hospital was built in the 1970s and will provide increased access to paediatric treatment and care.

Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the facility will bring additional beds to the nation’s health system.

“When I visited the Bustamante Hospital (for Children) earlier, I was told that they needed at least another 100 beds to satisfy the marketplace… . The fact that we’re building a 220-bed facility says to me that we’re able to now deal fairly adequately with the demands of childcare,” he said.

He noted that the new facility will enable Jamaica to meet the targets under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, particularly as they relate to the health status of the nation’s children.

Dr. Tufton was speaking at a signing of letters of exchange ceremony for the project at the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry in New Kingston.

He said that following completion of the new hospital, families will be able to access specialised care for children under 12 years of age and adolescents closer to their communities. The project, he said, will also enhance the nation’s tourism product.

Approval is being awaited for lands adjacent to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, which will be the site of the new health facility.

Dr. Tufton said that once approval has been granted and the necessary infrastructure is in place “within a year we’ll see a tangible product being presented”.

The Minister noted that the bilateral agreement between Jamaica and China for the project will serve to strengthen the relationship between the countries as well as boost the public healthcare system.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said the project marks a significant milestone in the relationship between Jamaica and China as they celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations this year.

Mrs. Johnson Smith noted that the construction phase of the project will provide jobs for Jamaicans, while a wide cross section of healthcare professionals and support personnel will be employed following completion.

China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Niu Qingbao, for his part, noted that the hospital will ease congestion at Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.

Mr. Qingbao said the facility will not only serve to develop the health sector but promote childcare services.

He noted that the agreement for the hospital’s construction is a tangible demonstration of the excellent relations between the countries.

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